Today I woke up at eleven thirty after a blissful ten hour sleep cycle (probably my first ten hour sleep cycle since I’ve come to Oxford) and, blessed with the prospect of a week to myself, decided to mark the beginning of this beautifully antisocial occasion by doing my laundry for the first time in two months. When, you might ask, is the right time for one to do her laundry? Well, kind and concerned reader, I’m pretty sure this happens when said person ran out of clean underwear two weeks ago and has a closet full of clothes that vaguely resembles the scent of a damp kitten after an afternoon of kitten-like frolicking in the rain.
After aforementioned laundry excursion, I traipsed down to the city centre sans pants and gloves (I like to live dangerously) and spent a blissful three hours getting to know the city of dreaming spires a little better. And by this I mean spending close to an hour in Oxfam, running my winter-chilled fingers along the spines of beautiful books of poetry and fiction and travel writing, occasionally lingering for a moment for a warm dip in their age-stained pages. And because it’s me we’re talking about, I emerged having spent seventeen pounds on eight brand new old books and the sensation of rosy pudding laughter coursing through my internal organs, which is to say that I emerged wholly satisfied.
I wandered through the Covered Market and bought 125 grams of loose leaf sencha tea which I am currently drinking out of an empty jam jar. I bought a two pound white porcelain cereal bowl for lentils and salads and a milk chocolate chip cookie because I have a endearing habit of rewarding myself for accomplishing absolutely nothing. I spent a good two minutes staring at a plastic tub of Parmesan cheese shavings because it had the Italian flag printed on its underside and gazing at this made me think of Amy and Cynthia and Venice and how I would return to that country in a heartbeat. I swallowed these emotions and purchased said dairy product, flag and memories and all.
Tesco and Sainsbury’s were out of avocados and I so stood alone in the produce section wanting to cry, wanting to tell all the other winter fruits and vegetables who sat there mocking me to fuck off. But then I went to Marks & Spencer and lo and behold, this holy hallowed item of sustenance was perched on a shelf above the insipid capsicums and then I really wanted to cry because I was just so so happy. I will mash this avocado into a puddle of guacamole glory and savour it with pita bread for dinner.
I was going to take the bus back to my flat but the weather was just so absolutely perfect that I couldn’t help but walk home despite my slightly sprained ankle and bags filled with books and groceries. Oxford at its best means a chilly, bleak, misty evening when visibility has been reduced to barely a few metres and all you have guiding your way are the glow of dusky street lamps and the rainbow lights of a Christmas tree planted right smack in the middle of St Giles’ Street. I shuffled my way home feeling tender and beauteous and wanting to cry for the fifth time in the past three hours, because I can’t help myself from finding meaning in everything. But tears were not shed because that would have reduced the situation to a blubbering pool of weepy hysterics, and that it was not. It was merely my heart overflowing with grace and thankfulness for the conditions of my existence, and the pleasantly gleaming prospect of my evening avocado party for one.